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Penn Law Celebrates Groundbreaking for New Golkin Hall Building

July 22, 2010

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Work on a building project that is transforming the south side of Penn Law’s campus stopped just long enough on July 22 to allow a ceremonial groundbreaking. The planned building will be called Golkin Hall, in honor of Perry Golkin, W’74, WG’74, L’78 and Donna Golkin, WG’77, lead donors to the project.
At 40,000 square feet, the LEED certifiable building will include a state-of-the-art court room, 350-seat auditorium, seminar rooms, faculty and administrative offices, a two-story entry hall and a roof-top garden. Completion is scheduled for January 2012.  
“With today’s symbolic groundbreaking, we have entered the last lap of a decade long transformation of the Penn Law campus. When our magnificent new building is dedicated, we will have renovated or rebuilt every single branch of our integrated complex. The result: we will have the finest urban law school campus in the country,” Dean Michael A. Fitts said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
The Golkin Hall project responds to a 50 percent growth in Penn Law’s faculty over the past decade.  In fact, a host of new academic initiatives left the Law School bursting at its intellectual seams. The building will include 200 percent more interior space than the structure it replaces, the former Pepper Hall. At the same time, it will maintain the Law School’s intimate layout – consisting of four interconnected buildings surrounding a central courtyard – by fitting into the footprint of the former building. 
The design for Golkin Hall was created by Kennedy & Violich Architecture, who embraced the Law School’s culture of community by envisioning new spaces that enable easy interaction among faculty, students, and staff. Paul Haaga L’74, WG’74, chair of the Board of Overseers, remembered the Board’s enthusiastic decision that the success of Penn Law initiatives under Dean Fitts’ leadership required more space – and its just as enthusiastic belief that that space needed to be within the Law School’s intimate footprint. He noted, “Our own feelings about the community we felt and built here required staying around this Courtyard.”
Haaga continued: “The architects have recognized that this is a building, this is a space about people…with places to be together, to talk and work together.” The community theme resounded in remarks made by Perry Golkin L’78, Board Member and lead donor, and Paul Levy L’72, chair of the Bold Ambitions campaign and former Board chair. Golkin noted: “I can’t think of a law campus that will be a better place than this one. It will build our community in all respects.”
The approximately $33.5 million Golkin Hall project is the final phase in a decade-long transformation of the Law School campus. The project follows a multi-year, $18 million renovation of Penn Law’s three other interconnected buildings and will be staged to have minimal impact on the academic enterprise. The renovated Goat Lounge will open in January of 2011 and the new building itself in January of 2012. Echoing the sentiments of the alumni whose generosity made this project possible, Dean Fitts concluded the ceremony by noting: “Now we will have a building at the center of Penn Law – Golkin Hall – that is as incredible as the people who call it home.”